Nineteen years ago, when Diane Dekker Redlegs's five children ranged from 6 months to 5 years in age, the ambitious mom and her husband, Scott, loaded them into the car to visit relatives.
As the young parents toured their aunt's impressive home, Diane couldn't help but think about how wonderful it would be to have such a large, stunning house.
"What stuck out the most in my mind and sparked a completely different envy than just the size of the house, was the vacuum lines that remained in the carpet in the formal dining room," Diane wrote on Facebook in an April post that is now being shared by many moms. "I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh my gosh! Her vacuum lines are still in her carpet probably a week or more after she vacuumed! What I wouldn't give to clean my house and have it stay magazine perfect for more than five minutes!'"
Although she couldn't wait for the day that her kids didn't instantly disrupt everything she worked so hard to clean, there was something major that Diane didn't realize at the time: in order to have a home that was always spotless, it would mean that her kids no longer lived there.
"I wanted those things because the everyday struggles of five loads of laundry, toys everywhere, mouths to feed, meals to prepare, and beds to make were overwhelming to me, and the beauty of a pristine home was something only dreams were made of," Diane wrote. "It took me 20 minutes in each room just to find the floor before I could vacuum it. I never grasped (no matter how bad I wanted vacuum lines to stay in my carpet) that my kids would one day grow up and leave."
Despite experienced moms warning Diane that it all goes by so fast, she quickly realized how hard it is for young mothers to fully understand that.
"That's when I realized that vacuum lines are lonely," Diane wrote. "Legos, dirty clothes, mouths to feed, and backpacks to get ready are sometimes very overwhelming, but they're never, ever lonely and that what the old ladies had been telling me was true!"
Diane reflected that the Legos slowly disappeared and were replaced by video games, then football gear, and finally by empty bedrooms waiting for a visit back home from college.
"The loads of laundry gradually got smaller, the dirty dishes were less and the endless treasures of Pokémon cards, or rock collections all disappeared," Diane wrote. "Everything sits magazine ready in my home now and I appreciate and love this time of my life, I only wish I had known the cost of vacuum lines, because then I surely wouldn't have wanted this day to come as fast as it did."